Friday, March 25, 2016

Mirror Mirror...

"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."
~~ Mahatma Gandhi

It is time to look in the mirror.

During a conversation with a dear friend today, he made me realize something.

In my posts up to this point, I've tried to lay out the groundwork for recognizing and dealing with aspects of narcissistic abuse. However, I think we should take a step back momentarily and look at the inner workings of how DV relationships come to fruition.

Yes, as a rule, there are two sides to a DV relationship. There is the abuser and the abused, or victim, if you will.

However, as important as it is to become familiar with moving parts of the relationship, it is also essential to look more closely at the dynamics of the individuals involved in the relationship.

Technically speaking, there is NO KNOWN cause for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). But there are many theories out there about its origins. Depending on to which camp you belong, your opinion of NPD may differ. But at the root of all discussions are two common threads:

Genetics or psychobiology -- Essentially there is some kind of issue with one's hardwiring -- meaning, things don't match up between an individual's brain, way of thinking, and behavior. 

Upbringing/Childhood Relationships -- Somewhere along the way there were major hiccups in the individual's relationship with his/her parents/caregivers leading to excessive criticism, praise or utter dismissal of the individual by those adults. 

So essentially, we fall back to the Nature vs. Nurture argument. And that is an argument that could go on for eons with seemingly no resolution b/c everyone has their own opinions about what it is that shapes us. For the sake of argument, let's just say that either one or both of the above factors may play a role in the development of a narcissistic personality.

Now that that's out of the way, let's look at the victims of narcissistic abuse/domestic violence. There are essentially two types of personalities who gravitate (knowingly or not) to those with NPD:

Fixers: There are some individuals who experience what can only be described as a compulsion-like mentality to fix others. Oftentimes, those with a fixer mentality also exhibit elements of co-dependency. It doesn't matter if the relationship is toxic or not, the fixer is determined to make things work. As painful as it is to admit it, they take on a relationship with a person who they learn is NOT healthy for them, but they choose to become involved anyhow. There could be a plethora of reasons for doing so that stem from childhood trauma to low self-esteem (which may be rooted in said trauma). Whatever the case, the fixer often feels broken him-/herself and doesn't believe he/she is deserving of better. 

Empaths/Highly Sensitive Personality: Individuals who are highly sensitive are very attractive to narcs. For these types of personalities, they do not realize they're in a toxic relationship until it's too late. Unfamiliar with the red flags of DV, they are oftentimes bewildered at how they came to be in their present situation and are unsure of how to get out. Empaths are very in tune with the needs of others, feel emotions far more intensely than others, and are -- unfortunately -- great fodder for the narc. 

Personally, I'm an empath. After experiencing DV and NPD firsthand, I know to run like hell if I see even a hint of red -- or, hell, even dark pink, magenta, any semblance of red -- waving in front of me. And I think that is the difference b/t the two personality types. 

Fixers often don't care if there is a sea of red flags waving before them. By god, they WILL fix the person come hell or high water. There was once a part of me that leaned toward being a fixer -- until it nearly killed me. 

There comes a point in a relationship when you have to take a step back and really look at what is going on. Take off the rose-tinted glasses and see the relationship for what it truly is. 

As you get older you realize YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYONE. If it is in their hardwiring to be a prick, they're going to be a prick. If it's in their hardwiring to be an abuser, they're going to be an abuser. Period. 

Once you come to accept that, then you need to look in the mirror. Take a good look and ask yourself some hard questions. 

"What brought me here?" "What am I doing to perpetuate this cycle?" "Why do I stay?"

And before you even say it, NO YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED. I don't care if you DID buy him the wrong beer, burn his supper, or accidentally bleach his favorite shirt while doing laundry. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED. PERIOD. 

Looking in the mirror while you're in the midst of the storm can be painful. I know I felt drained, defeated, hopeless, frazzled and even ashamed of my reflection.

But, as I found, an epiphany WILL COME.

This life is a Gift. You ARE a beautiful human being who is deserving of LOYALTY, LOVE AND RESPECT. And, with time, you will see it, too. And you will stand stronger, more confident and proud of who you have become. A survivor. 

Before you begin the trek to the opposite shore, you WILL reach a point where you have to start holding yourself accountable and seriously consider what you can/should do to change your situation. 

It took me a long while to get there, but I finally reached a point where I'd had enough. I was drowning. And he certainly wasn't offering a hand to save me. He was too busy tying boulders to my ankles to hasten the process. 

As I have quoted before, the Buddha said it is up to US to walk our own path... no one may do it for us. The same goes with the choices you make. 

Sure, you were duped by the narc. You fell for an ILLUSION. The important thing is NOW YOU KNOW. 

"But I love him," you say.

OK, I understand that. I DO. I said the SAME THING. Even after I had left and was struggling to lift myself from the quicksands of a VERY toxic and violent situation. 

But do you really love him/her? Or do you love the idea of him/her? Are you in love with the illusion you have of him/her? Odds are, I would venture to say, you are in love with the illusion you have of him or her. 

It is very difficult to look your abuser in the eye after they have forced you to have sex, struck you, kept you confined or threatened to do you bodily harm and say, "I love you," and FEEL IT. 

My abuser would always "lament" the "good old days" before the violence, before the abuse saying he missed the times we used to cuddle, when we would hold hands, when we would laugh. 

Well, ALL that took place in the idealization phase of the relationship, BEFORE the mask came off. Before I saw the Beast inside. I would say, "It's REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who just forced you to have sex... It is REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who makes you feel like shit ALL THE TIME... It is REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who does nothing but tear you down." 

And for whatever reason, that didn't compute with him. 

While I was trying so desperately to change him, he was busy raising the bar. His expectations of who I should be FOR HIM and FOR US reached unattainable heights. In the end, I realized NOTHING I would do would ever be enough. He would still lie, he would still cheat. NOTHING would change. Period.

No matter how deeply or intensely you love him/her it DOES NOT and WILL NOT be enough for him/her to change who they REALLY ARE. And therein lies the conundrum. 

To further complicate the issue -- Enter, Fear. I KNOW b/c I was once there myself. I understand the fear victims have of their abuser. I understand the hesitancy to even entertain the idea of leaving. It is utterly TERRIFYING to the point it can be nearly paralyzing. I get it. 

But if the relationship has deteriorated to the point that you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror, it is detrimental to your overall health, and you ARE in danger and it's time to seek help from the outside. 

There are people willing to help. I promise. And I would almost guarantee, your friends and family who have been on the outside looking in have only been waiting for the opportunity to lend a hand. All you need to do is ask. And there are also other organizations and resources available to help you reclaim your life away from your abuser -- and to help you do so in a safe manner. 

"We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize."
~~ Thich Nhat Hanh

What I want you to please take away from this, at this point in time, is that it IS possible to avoid these types of relationships. Now, if you are a fixer -- and you know who you are -- I don't know that I can be of much help. But if you are an empath, like myself, the goal is to familiarize yourself with the red flags of DV and narc abuse. Know them inside and out. Then, should you cross paths with an individual who fits the bill of a narc, you know to run like hell in the opposite direction before they even have a chance to hook and reel you in. 

Understand, no amount of hollow apologies, false promises or honeymoon phases will EVER change a narc. The responsibility falls on your shoulders to educate yourself and take whatever steps necessary to not put yourself in the same situation again. I will say it once more YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANOTHER PERSON. PERIOD. 

So take the energy you would exert in the futile effort of trying to change a tiger's stripes and reinvest that energy into YOURSELF. Rebuild yourself from the inside out. Happiness and contentment are already inside you --- truly. You will NEVER find genuine happiness in another person and certainly not in trying to "fix" a volatile relationship. 

You are worth WAY MORE and deserve so much better. Just find your footing. Then it's a matter of placing one foot in front of the other. You WILL stumble. I did. A LOT. Hell, I STILL stumble. But with support, you WILL find your way... It takes time. It won't be easy. But it WILL be worth it. I promise.

"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
Not going all the way and not starting."
~~ Gautama Buddha

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3 

No comments:

Post a Comment